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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – part 5:  What if. . ?


‘What are you thinking about?’ Legolas asked Elladan, as he considered his rather gloomy countenance.

‘Arwen,’ he replied.  ‘Have you ever thought how different life would be if you two had married as our adars would have liked?’

The three old friends leant on the handrail of the delicate wooden bridge and watched the water as it flowed round larger moss-covered rocks and over smaller stones, pushing busily past on its way to join the river.

Legolas sighed and turned his back, lifting his face to the sun and closing his eyes. ‘The Dark Lord in control of Middle Earth; Men reduced to slavery; Dwarves and Hobbits wiped out; the Elves in flight, waiting for the final attack as the forces of the Shadow proliferate like maggots in the corpse of Arda?’

His friend frowned at him. ‘Do not be foolish. Events would have transpired as they did – except our sister would be here in the Blessed Realm with us.  Our hearts would not be torn between our family here and those lost.’

Elrohir turned his clear silver-grey eyes towards Legolas and considered him at length. ‘You are serious, are you not?’

‘Oh yes, I am serious,’ Legolas answered softly, his words dropping like tears. ‘Without Arwen, Estel would not have had sufficient strength to stand as the heir of Isildur and take up his destiny.  Without Estel, Gondor would have fallen, as would the Rohirrim. Without the forces of Gondor and Rohan, the Ringbearer would have failed in his quest.  Arwen was the rock on which the whole house of cards depended. She was the foundation upon which Elessar built his House.’  He paused.  ‘If she and I had wed -,’ he shook his head, ‘it would not have been right. We were always friends, but not lovers.  I would not be surprised to find she was placed on Arda by Iluvator himself to inspire Aragorn and make victory possible.’

‘Destiny? Is that not overly simplistic? The sort of thing that people say afterwards to rationalise the unacceptable?’ Elladan flicked a small red beetle from the rail. ‘If Arwen had been married to you, then Estel would have fallen in love with someone else.  We would still have missed him all our days, but we would not have watched her fall into complete despair and die alone among the fading mallorns.’

‘So are you saying it is my fault that Arwen chose Estel?’ Legolas asked.

Elladan shrugged.  ‘You are prettier than he was,’ he said.  ‘I am sure you could have won her over.’

‘Arwen was not so shallow as to love for looks, my brother,’ Elrohir smiled, ‘or she could have subdued our blond prince at will, whether he wished it or not.’  He sobered and looked at his brother seriously.  ‘We must stop brooding over what cannot be altered, Elladan.  We have all wondered what might have resulted from our choosing a different path – but we must all live with the choices we made.’

‘I miss her,’ Elladan said softly.

‘Do you realise,’ Elrohir spoke as if struck by an unexpected idea. ‘Had Legolas and Arwen produced elflings, then fate might have led Estel to marry their daughter?  Can you just imagine him as Elessar’s adar-in-law?’

Legolas shuddered dramatically. ‘Not a chance,’ he insisted. ‘I would never have permitted a scruffy, pipe-smoking ranger near any daughter of mine!’

‘Not even one who was like a brother to you?’

‘Especially not a brother.’  Legolas grinned.  ‘After all, that would make him her uncle!’

‘I do not believe that you could convince a twenty year old Dunedain and an elleth of several centuries or more to behave like uncle and niece, my friend, any more than you can make them feel like brother and sister,’ Elladan said dryly. ‘No matter how much you might have desired it.’

They stood and gazed at the water as it wove its way between the banks, rippling past obstructions and swirling gently in small pools.  A willow trailed its long slender fingers in the stream as a gentle breeze stirred the air.

‘Her song goes on, my brother,’ Elrohir insisted, resting his hand on his twin’s. ‘Learn to rejoice for her, and let yourself live.’


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